Henry, 18, to compere youth festival opening concert at Harrogate Royal Hall -

Henry Mills
Henry Mills

Eighteen-year-old Henry Mills, of Knaresborough, will compere the opening concert of the Harrogate International Youth Festival.

He talks to us ahead of the event which runs from April 20 to April 23.

Please tell me about yourself

I am a percussionist with Tewit Youth Band and I am in my eighth and final year with the band. I go to King James School in Knaresborough and am enjoying my year as Head Boy. Makes a nice change being asked to compere a concert as opposed to giving a speech at open evening. I love playing with Tewit and it has gifted so many amazing opportunities. Playing drums is my number one hobby and when I’m not doing that I’m trying my hand at acting.

How long have you been involved with the festival

This year is my seventh or eighth year. Many happy memories from being one of the younger ones trying to figure my way round all the percussion in massed bands.

Tell us about highlights

The youth festival is always a great week jam-packed with a variety of concerts and events. It is amazing to meet so many people from all over the world and create some great friendships.

You’ve now been invited again to compere the opening night at the Royal Hall – how do you feel?

I am honoured. I Obviously didn’t mess up too badly last time.

What have been the biggest challenges for you as both a performer and now as compere for the opening night?

Hard to pick between choosing my outfit or swapping drumsticks for a microphone.

What is your favourite part of the festival

The massed bands because it brings all the groups together to create amazing music. Being a percussionist, it has always been enjoyable to meet so many amazing people over the years, but we are always met with the challenge of getting everyone a part. On a few occasions some of the pieces have only had four percussion parts which only becomes a challenge when there are 20 percussionists all wanting something to play. W

Experiences through the festival

We hosted the children’s choir from Rwanda. They stole everyone’s hearts and made the festival and what it stands for. Two years later me and my mum taught music over there for a week. It was the best week of my life and I aim to return.

Thanks to Cat and Simon Ross who made it all happen and allowed us to accompany them on their ‘almost’ yearly ventures.

We met some amazing people with incredible stories and they are memories that will stay with me forever. Without Harrogate International Youth Festival I wouldn’t have had this once in a lifetime opportunity.